Written By: Magenta
Magenta is a long standing TABI member who generously shares her wealth of knowledge with us on the blog (and on the TABI forum!). Today, Magenta shares with us a little insight to the wonderful craft of Tasseography.
‘Many curious things I see when telling fortunes in your tea!’
So says the inscription round the cup of my Mum’s 1930’s fortune telling cup.
Modern living can be demanding and at times, we’d all like to be able to see what lies ahead!
Clairvoyants use many methods of divination including looking to the stars, using tarot cards or contacting spirits through psychic mediums, and what I am writing about today is something I hope you will find really interesting, the reading of tea leaves!
Tea leaf reading, or Tasseography, was first attributed to people in China who have held a deep adoration of tea and its beneficial qualities for centuries.
Superstitious people see omens and signs all around them, and it is an ancient human instinct to want to understand the universe. As such, people have always looked to fortune tellers, prophets and mystics to make sense of the world and to give some guidance to their lives.
Fortune tellers began to notice patterns and shapes left in their cups after drinking tea and interpreted them as prophecies and messages of the past, present and future. This spread and developed during the seventeenth century when Dutch merchants introduced tea to Europe. As a cheap method of fortune-telling, it only required a cup of tea so became increasingly popular as both a means to tell the future and a method of entertainment. Coffee grounds are also used in the Middle East.
So how does it work exactly? There’s a lot of speculation on the accuracy of tea leaf reading to actually predict the future, but even if you’re not a believer then it’s still a really fun thing to try over afternoon tea.
The idea behind reading tea leaves is that whilst drinking, a person’s movements affect the leaves swirling around so that when they settle the shapes are unique to them.
It is then up to the reader to interpret these shapes.
Choose a good quality loose leaf tea to start with as cheaper blends of tea tend to have very fine leaves. Put the tea into a teapot and add boiling water.
Grab a wide, flat bottomed cup preferably white, that has no pattern inside and slightly sloped sides.
Once the tea is boiled carefully pour out into the cup (don’t use a tea strainer) and enjoy!
Just before you’re finished, give the last bit of tea a little swirl around and start to get your imagination going by thinking about what you’d like to see. Turn the cup upside down in the saucer and leave to drain for a few minutes. Leaves will often line the sides and base of the cup.
In an episode of the BBC’s drama ‘Peaky Blinders’ a girl who is asking for a reading is told to ‘think of her wedding dress’ as she drinks the tea.
Now comes the fun bit! Like finding shapes in clouds, let you eyes wander over the leaves, looking for any patterns or images.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR?
Tea leaf reading is open to interpretation of course, but there are some established ideas that can help to get you going:
The handle of the tea cup is supposed to be representative of the person who is getting the reading.
This means it’s a great place to start the reading and then progress in a clockwise direction around the cup. If the shape is closer to the handle then it means something is happening at present or near future to you, rather than in the past
SMALL LEAVES AND DUST
If these form a clear line it’s the indication of a message about a journey.
The length of the journey and the route it will take is determined by how the tea dust settles and of course any other signs or symbols nearby.
WHERE IN THE CUP
If a shape forms from the dark colours of the leaves themselves, it is supposed to be a negative omen, whilst if a shape is seen in the white of the cup beneath the leaves, it’s something positive.
An image that’s in the very bottom of the cup has something to do with the future, whilst closer to the rim of the cup means it is in the past. However, some versions of reading tea leaves say that the handle is you now. Then starting from the left of the handle dividing the cup into roughly 12 segments for each month in the future, all the way round so that the right of the handle becomes about a year ahead.
LETTERS & SYMBOLS
People often see a letter form in the tea leaves. It’s believed that any capital letters are referring to place names whilst a lower case means someone’s name.
So “L” might mean something exciting in London for you, whilst it could be a sign of a blossoming romance with someone with that initial.
In the same way that people interpret dreams,
shapes and symbols carry different meaning depending on an individual’s beliefs
For example, seeing a balloon might mean to you a celebration, a busy social life, or feelings of restlessness leading to travel. Another example would be a key – this could either be unlocking something in order to progress, or a secret that might be best kept under lock and key! A worst case scenario could be that you need to ensure that belongings/home/car are locked against potential theft.
A crown could indicate success and honours
and any straight lines close to it would suggest a straight and uncomplicated
course to success, whereas of course any wavy lines show possible delays and
It’s really all about adding interpretation so the shapes can apply to where you are in your life at the moment!